“I’m 14 now, but I think I started having a problem when I was 11. I got really worried about my weight and my body. I had put on a bit of weight and was pretty upset when some of the boys in my class started laughing and calling me fat in the changing rooms after rugby. I began to stay late at the pitch, to do more running.
“I noticed myself feeling really sad and guilty after meals, so I started to reduce the amount I was eating. I began looking at apps on my phone about fitness too. My parents noticed, as my appetite had always been good, but now I was arguing with them if they offered me certain foods.
“Everyone started telling me I was losing weight, but I still felt fat every time I saw myself in the mirror. I gradually stopped going to rugby; it was like it just didn’t matter to me anymore.
“I guess it didn’t help that my parents were arguing a lot at the time. I overheard them a few times arguing about me too. It felt like everything that was good was falling apart and losing weight was the only thing that I could focus on.
“My parents took me to see my GP, who told me I was underweight, and my blood pressure was worryingly low. They arranged for me to see a specialist young people’s mental health team who began to offer me regular appointments and did blood tests and heart monitoring. They also recommended that my parents should start to talk to the team to think about how I could get better.
“That’s when things slowly started to get a bit easier. For the first time in ages it felt like we were all properly listening to each other. Gradually I started to eat some of the foods that I had been avoiding. I put on some weight and spent less time feeling worried about exercising. After a few months of hard work, the team discharged me.
“I can still sometimes feel a bit anxious about getting changed, but mostly it doesn’t bother me. I still watch rugby, but I don’t play anymore. I prefer cricket now!”